TCU dance makes way for renovations

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    TCU dance students began the spring semester a little differently, with their classes moved to various rooms in the University Recreation Center and the GrandMarc apartments.

    Ellen Shelton, director of the School for Classical and Contemporary Dance, said the school was making the best of their temporary move while workers made renovations to Lowe Hall, formerly known as the Ballet and Modern Dance Building.

    Lowe Hall had not been renovated since it was built in 1921, Shelton said, and was in need of new dance studios, improved wheelchair accessibility and public restrooms. The renovation would be completed in time for classes for the 2011 fall semester, she said.

    Senior Amy Bramlett, a ballet/modern dance major, said the location of classes was not as important as the program itself. She added that dancing at the rec center helped the rest of campus to see the dance program in action.

    “All of us are interested in what we do,” Bramlett said. “You have to be so passionate and dedicated, so it doesn’t really distract you.”

    Molly McGregor, assistant director of campus recreation, said the rec center was trying to help as much as possible to accommodate the dance students, faculty and staff. The dance school also worked with the rec center to make the space more functional.

    The dance school began using Multipurpose Room 1 in the rec center as a dance space, as well as rooms downstairs for Pilates and costumes spaces, McGregor said. The school also moved its office to Rickel 244.

    In addition, the dance school put in Marley floors to make the surface better for dance students, McGregor said. These floors absorb shock and give the floor a softer feel.

    Staff also divided Multipurpose Room 1 into two rooms for more dance space, she said.

    McGregor said the rec center staff was more than happy to host the dance program during their renovation. She added that although students used Multipurpose Room 1 as a dance studio, the Mind and Body Studio was still hosting daily group exercise classes.

    “In terms of numbers of classes, I kept it almost the exact same as previous semesters [and] the quality of programming [is] just as good,” McGregor said. “So really, I feel as though we haven’t skipped a beat.”

    McGregor hoped that even though the group exercise classes would be downstairs in the Mind and Body Studio this semester, just as many participants would come as in the past, she said.

    Shelton said the move was going as well as can be expected.

    “Lots of people have given lots of space and energy to this [and] to making this happen,” Shelton said. “We are surviving and being hosted wonderfully by the staff at the rec center.”

    Senior modern dance major Lindsey Parker said it was nice to have a workout area so close to the classrooms and felt dancing at the rec center was not as different as she expected.

    “I feel like we are used to dancing in strange places,” Parker said. “You are used to dancing or performing whenever you can.”